Create a fine reading experience for your readers by transforming your sentences into plain language | Photo by Delightin Dee on Unsplash
Melissa Wardell shares her thoughts on the award for Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation. Melissa is one of the judges for the category in 2022.
Communication is all about words. Words on their own are limited in how much meaning they can convey to the audience. How do we bring them together to carry more complex thoughts and ideas? By writing sentences, of course!
When words are combined into a well-written sentence, they inform and influence the reader. Sentences provide a stage for words to shine. That’s why the award for Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation is so revealing. The best sentence transformations show us what is possible at an easily digestible level.
Offer poorly written sentences a second chance
Not all sentences achieve their intended goal at first. But even clunky sentences deserve a second chance!
The Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation category offers you the opportunity to take the ingredients of a complex or clumsy sentence and remix them into something beautiful. To create a fine reading experience from what was a flop.
Have a look at an example of how to transform a sentence here (video by sponsor Write Limited)
Shine the light on your transformed sentences
The Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation recognises the best plain language rewrite of an ‘unplain’ sentence by a New Zealand or Australian organisation. Entries are judged against internationally accepted principles of plain language.
The Best Sentences know how to impress the judges in this category. In 2021, one of the judges said:
The original statement shows how authorities sometimes, without meaning to, create a sense of ‘us and them’. The new version’s writer saw potential to relate to readers as their equals. The rewritten sentences are short and use many everyday words. They apply several plain English principles.
What you need to know
You can enter up to three separate sentence transformations for one entry fee.
Judges will consider each sentence separately, so you have up to three chances of winning in this category!
Enter the Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation by 31 July
Meet 2021 winners Auckland Council
Meet the judges for the 2022 Plain Language Awards
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation
Best Sentence, Best Sentence Transformation, clarity, clear communication, transformation
Looking forward to celebrating this year’s winners | Photo by Universal Eye on Unsplash
Our international panels of judges have settled on this year’s finalists.
Find out which entries made the grade
So, what made an entry good enough to become a finalist this year? Here’s a taste of what our judges had to say:
[The writer] is fighting against engrained writing attitudes, including in [their] company, which is quite courageous.
I found the content incredibly compelling. The language, structure and visual devices beautifully enhance this detailed and informative content.
The combination of plain writing and relevant graphics make [this document] a joy to read.
[This document] is an excellent example of keeping anxious people informed on a critical topic.
We’re now counting down to our virtual Awards ceremony on Thursday, 14 October, where we’ll announce and celebrate this year’s winners.
Find out more about our ceremony plans
See who entered the Awards in 2021
Meet our judges
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Finalists
2021 Plain English Awards, Best Organisation, Best Plain English Communication, Brainstrain, Champion, clarity, clear communication, clear writing, judges, recognition
Keep sharing your love of plain language with the world | Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels
Now that entries for the 2021 Plain English Awards are closed, our judges are hard at work reviewing all the wonderful entries we received. But that doesn’t mean everything stops until we announce the finalists and then the winners. You can still spread the good word and share your love story for plain language.
Keep the conversation buzzing through our gallery
You can browse our video gallery to hear everyone’s stories about their love for plain language, the journey they went on for their entry, or about a project they’re working on.
Look through our video gallery and hear what others have to say
We’d love to hear your plain language love story — we’re keen to hear from all our local and international plain language companions!
Tell your plain language story in a video
Why not create your own video to share in our gallery? Sometimes the hardest part about making a video is where to begin. Believe me, it’s simpler than you think!
You don’t have to be Peter Jackson and direct the next fantasy epic (although that would be amazing). And we’re not looking for Down Under’s Next Top Video Maker.
You could talk to your phone and record a short video. Or you could create a slideshow or animation with either text or voice-over to tell your story. Or you might interview a colleague. We’ve got all sort of styles and formats in the gallery.
Here are some ideas for topics you might cover in your video.
- What does plain language mean to you?
- Why does plain language matter in your industry?
- How did your customers react when you used plain language in a document?
Check out our guidelines for creating your plain language story
Meet other plain language fans
You’re not alone in your love for plain language! Remember that you have friends all over the world who are passionate about plain language.
Our video gallery features stories from people all over the globe who appreciate all things plain and simple — and you can feature alongside them! So have fun and continue to spread the word about your plain language love story.
Find out who sponsors the Awards and loves plain language as much as you
Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date on Awards news
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Story theme
clarity, clear communication, improved writing, plain language culture, Plain language story, Story, transformation, video story
Breathe new life into your documents and make them worthy of the Turnaround Award | Photo by Bryn Parish on Unsplash
What does it take to win the Best Plain Language Turnaround category? What does a winning entry in this category look like?
More than an edit or redesign
A top submission in the Best Plain Language Turnaround category will be more than an edited version of an original document. It’ll be more than a website that has been redesigned. More than information that has been restructured to be more reader-focused. More than information that has been user-tested for its target audience.
Coming from a place of care
A winning entry in the Best Plain Language Turnaround category will include many of the above qualities and then some. Above all, it will clearly have come from a place of care. An individual or team will have looked at the communication and thought, ‘This information is important and the people it’s serving deserve our time to make the information better serve its purpose’. In other words, the writers will be caring for their readers.
What judges have said about previous winning entries
Have a read of what our judges have said about some of our past turnaround winners.
Winner 2018: Infinite Possibilities Limited
‘This is a damn clever turnaround. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.’
‘A remarkable change! You’ve taken a legal document and turned it on its head. It’s brilliantly unconventional, witty, exudes personality, and was a pleasure to read.’
‘The word choice is casual and direct with a very distinct tone. Some people will clearly consider it unbusiness-like and will not do business with this company. Others will find it refreshing and will move forward — exactly the intent to weed out those clients who find it offensive and to sign on those who find it refreshing.’
Winner 2017: Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
‘This is a terrific turnaround from a dull, wordy website to one that is lively, engaging, and easy to navigate. This organisation has done a great job of using multimedia, and their restructuring of the content works really well.’
‘The scenario-based navigation on the home page is friendly, colourful, and relevant, and this flows well into the more text-heavy pages further down in the site. The scenarios capture the reader’s attention and the short videos are hilarious — a great way to get people involved in thinking through how to be ready for a disaster or emergency.’
‘The layout and formatting are much cleaner, with good use of white space and headings to focus the eye. The tips are helpful and the key messages are brought to the fore much more than in the original. Great work!’
Winner 2015: OSPRI
‘You’ve done a great job with this rewrite. It’s a vast improvement on the original. This is a usable and useful document, which does the job well. Nice work!
Find out more about the Best Plain Language Turnaround category
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Plain English Awards, Plain English Turnaround
2021 Plain English Awards, Best Plain English Turnaround, Best turnaround, clarity, clear communication, clear writing, plain language, Turnaround Award, writing for the public, writing for the reader
Share the stories of your plain language projects and inspire others! Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash
This year, we’re introducing something new to shine a spotlight on the amazing achievements of our entrants and supporters.
We’re inviting you to share videos telling the story behind your document, project, or passion, or to tell your story of why plain language matters to you.
Why share your stories?
We’re all keen to see what a plain language approach is like in action, and the work you’ve done to achieve it.
Your stories are a chance for you to acknowledge the hard work that your team has put into the project. Your stories will showcase the thinking, planning, and drafting that goes into producing plain language content.
We hope your stories will inspire others to see how plain language can make a difference in people’s lives. No story is too big or too small!
Share your plain language story
Your stories will form part of a video gallery
We’ll showcase your stories on a gallery on the Plain English Awards website so that together we can inspire, challenge, and enlighten others. Your videos will be promoted in our newsletter, and will appear alongside those from other individuals and organisations. The story gallery will be a wonderful resource to share with your own audiences too.
As Awards project manager Jonny puts it:
It’s clear to us that, every year, projects and documents that are entered into the Plain English Awards have often taken a lot of thought and effort. Previously, our judges have been the only ones to see and enjoy your work.
In 2021 we want to know why you used a plain language approach. We also want to celebrate the positive impact that plain language has on organisations, customers, and the public.
View stories of plain language in our gallery
Discover some of our previous winners
Find out more about the entry process
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards
clarity, clear communication, plain language, Story
Well done to our patron, Chloe, who was recognised as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2021 New Year Honours List.
We couldn’t be more proud of our generous patron, Chloe Wright. In recognition of her enormous commitment to philanthropy, education, and health, Chloe was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit at the start of 2021.
An exemplar of kindness and care
In 1996, Chloe and her husband Wayne co-founded BestStart Educare, an early learning education organisation. BestStart is now New Zealand’s largest early learning organisation and is run under the Wright Family Foundation. This foundation provides funds and assistance to improve the educational, emotional, and psychological wellbeing of New Zealanders.
As well as carrying out her philanthropic work through the Wright Family Foundation, Chloe founded Birthing Centre in 2014, which now has four locations. Birthing Centre is a service offering extensive postnatal support to new mothers and their babies. Its vision is to work in partnership with families to effect an informed, active, and natural birthing experience.
Chloe is also patron of SuperGrans Aotearoa, Kids’ Lit Quiz, the New Zealand Spelling Bee … and of course the Plain Language Awards!
Chloe believes passionately in the goals of the Awards. She wants to see plain language as the norm in government and business communication — so that information is clear and easy to access for everyone.
Chloe’s enthusiasm for, and dedication to, all the causes she supports is truly remarkable. Congratulations, Chloe! We’re so grateful for her support as Awards patron.
Meet our Awards patron
Interested in sponsoring?
If you’re interested in supporting the Plain Language Awards, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you, and we’d love to work with you.
Please contact Hellie to find out about sponsor benefits at email@example.com
Become a sponsor
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Social good, Sponsors, Sponsorship
clarity, patron, sponsors, Sponsorship, Wright Family Foundation
The beauty of helping anyone out is in the end result. Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash
Remember the time you helped your cousin learn to ride a bike? Or made your mother breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day? Or picked your friend’s children up from school when your friend got caught in a meeting?
The beauty of helping anyone out is in the end result. It’s the look of exhilaration when you let the bike go and your cousin takes off on his own. The smile on your mother’s face and the appreciation she feels when you treat her. The relief you give your friend, who can finish the meeting he’s in without worrying about his children.
Sponsoring the Awards is like all of these examples. By supporting us to run the Plain English Awards, you’re helping to promote good. Just like the smile on your mother’s face at Mother’s Day, you’ll directly and indirectly be helping to make a difference. That smile will be the equivalent of a patient who understands their medical treatment for the first time. Or someone going through a personal emergency that understands his or her insurance cover immediately.
Sponsoring the Awards shows you support a fairer society
A plain language approach to communication is a radical commitment to putting customers and colleagues first — a culture-changing shift in how society operates. Our sponsors sit alongside us on the journey, adding a new voice to the chorus calling for fair and clear communication from private and public sector organisations. Our sponsors become part of our Awards team.
If you’re interested in supporting the 2021 Plain English Awards, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you, and we’d love to work with you.
Please contact Melissa to find out about sponsor benefits at firstname.lastname@example.org
Become a sponsor
Meet our sponsors
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Plain English Awards, Sponsors, Sponsorship
2021 Plain English Awards, appreciation, Awards team, clarity, clear communication, make a difference, sponsor, sponsor benefits, sponsoring, Sponsorship, support the Awards
Taking a fresh approach to legal writing with the Best Plain English Legal Document
Legal documents are changing. Once densely written, peppered with Latin, and strictly formatted, today’s legal documents are much more reader-friendly.
We’re all readers of legal documents. And we all appreciate clearly written documents that state the necessary information without resorting to legalese. Preferably, we want to be able to read the document and understand it easily. This means we can discuss the content with our legal advisor or a colleague, without having to rely on someone else to explain it first.
A fresh approach to legal
When we’re signing a contract, entering an agreement, or deciding who we’ll leave our worldly goods to, legal documents in plain English make each party’s obligations clear.
The Best Plain English Legal Document award recognises this fresh approach to legal documents. The judges will be looking for examples of legal writing that consider the reader’s needs rather than the writer’s. These are the documents that clearly and succinctly explain, streamline, and structure legal content that could otherwise be confusing to a non-legally-trained person.
Here’s what the judges praised in last year’s winner and finalist entries.
About the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 (Parliamentary Counsel Office)
Parliamentary Counsel Office did a great job of combining multiple Acts that were a confusing hodgepodge of legislation into a single intelligible Act.
A clear understanding of the audience and consultation with these groups made the project stronger. The explanations in the legislation were particularly useful.
The revised Act is a great step forward in New Zealand for plain English legislation. And the intended audience has a much clearer picture of contractual law in New Zealand.
About the Property Sharing Agreement (Cavell Leitch)
Cavell Leitch has shown a commitment to improving the clarity of a consumer-focused contract. Significant steps have been taken to improve the language.
The judges are looking forward to seeing what this year’s entries will bring.
Enter your fresh legal document here
Posted In: 2018 Plain English Awards, Legal writing
Best Legal Document, clarity, Legal writing, legalese, recognition
Government agencies and commercial firms are again vying for honours in the annual Plain English Awards. Organisations are turning their back on corporate jargon, bureaucratic writing, and legalese.
Now in their 12th year, the Awards have an impressive track record. They encourage New Zealand organisations to favour clarity over complexity and celebrate those who choose to be clear.
The Awards are the premier benchmark for high standards and achievement in plain English. Success in the Awards shows we’re not only doing it [plain English], but doing it well and our expertise is being recognised.
Entries are open until August
Entries are open across nine categories. Awards are available for everything from superb sentence rewrites and document transformations, to recognition for people who campaign for clarity and their projects.
Entries are open now and will close on 31 August 2017.
Choose your category and enter the Awards
Posted In: Communications
benchmark, clarity, legalese, Plain English Awards